Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Christmas Photos & recipe for Yummy Classic Molasses Cookies

This shouldn't come as a surprise to you, but one of my favorite things about Christmas is the nibbling of cookies, candies, cakes and every wonderful confection the season brings!  It's the one holiday that we all can agree to indulge without guilt, and I think it should be that way!  I mentioned in my earlier post (on my fun Christmas facts) some of my favorite desserts and candies of the season.  They include my mom's peanut butter balls and her fresh coconut cake that we endearingly call, the snowball cake.  Others are my own raspberry linzer Christmas tree cookies and easy toffee cracker candy.  This year I've added two new favorite that will definitely become tradition next year: Martha Washingtons (aka coconut-pecan bonbons) and these super soft and chewy molasses crinkles!

really can't say enough about how wonderful these cookies are!!!  

They are an old fashioned recipe, which guarantees deliciousness, and a simple one at that!  Ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves, marry with molasses to give one of the most Christmas-y tasting cookies there is!  They're rolled in sugar before being baked to give them a sparkly crinkle finish that I love.  Gingerbread boys are so fun and cute, but these cookies have a similar flavor that is way chewer and--in my humble opinion--more scrumptious!!

Classic Molasses Cookies
Recipe from, The Yummy Life

2 c. All-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. plus 1/3 c. white sugar, divided
1 egg, room temp
1/4 c. molasses 

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside.  In a medium bowl, with a mixer on low speed, blend together the melted butter, 1 cup of sugar, and egg until smooth.  Stir in molasses.  With mixer on low speed gradually add the flour mixture; mix until completely combined.  This is important:  Cover and chill dough in fridge for 1 hour.  I actually refrigerated this dough for about 48.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough into walnut sized balls, roll each ball into (the 1/3 c.) sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are cracked, but the center is still gooey.  I usually take out almost underdone to make cookies very chewy!

Serve these detectable molasses crinkles with a hot cup of frothy French press coffee or any other deeply rich coffee that will stand up to this rich cookie!  We gave my mom a French press for Christmas, so on Christmas Eve we had an extraordinary cup of coffee to accompany molasses crinkles and other treats! 

It was special to sit in the cozy sunroom, sip our coffee from pretty cups, and relax with family in the afternoon before dinner!  Sigh .... I miss Christmas already.

Here are some of Mama's confections!

Here's the snowball cake with fruit salad, and homemade egg nog (sans alcohol). Delicious!!!

.....  Here, take a peek with me at my very favorite Christmas "Sweets".

Over the river and through the woods to Grammy and Grandpapa's house we go!

Happy birthday, Jesus!!

Mom's Christmas Eve Breakfast!  

We all stayed the night and awoke in their cozy country house to a light dusting of snow outside and the smell of biscuits and gravy, country ham, fried apples and cranberries, (and more) wafting from the kitchen.  We loved it!!!  Thank you, Mom!

My Sister Love

Our little beauty.

Our little cowboy!

Praise God!  4 Generations!!


Our family's tradition of Grandad reading The Christmas story from Luke.

Christmas jammies

My favorite Christmas blessing for the past 12 years. ;) xo

We've had a very joyful year, and it ended with a magical Christmas!!! 
Happy New Year to you and yours, and may you "taste and see that the Lord is good".

Saturday, December 28, 2013

*Best Loved* Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders

These little gooey sandwiches filled with ham and cheese and topped with a tangy, buttery sauce really needs no introduction!

They are perfect for a party, game night, shower, or any holiday appetizer!  When are they not perfect, really?? :)

They're easy to assemble, fast to bake, and when done they come out of the oven begging to be inhaled by hungry kids and adults alike!  I made a pan a few weeks ago in the Christmas season on a fun day Mr. Cozy and I were at home with the kids.  They fueled our day of wrapping and relaxing. They would be perfect for a Super Bowl party, too!  If you've never tried these hot ham and cheese sliders, what are you waiting for... Here is the recipe to your new favorite sandwich!!

Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders

1 pkg. Hawaiian Rolls, split entire pan of rolls length-wise (don't separate rolls)
18 slices (approx) Your favorite deli ham, shaved
8 slices (approx) your favorite cheese,sliced,  Swiss, cheddar, Colby jack, or pepper jack
5 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 tsp. onion or garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Mustard (I used hot and sweet mustard)
3 packed tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
Poppy seeds

Keep in mind, as you assemble to treat it as one big sandwich.  Once you slice the whole pkg. of rolls in half lengthwise (without breaking them apart), lay the bottom half in a preferably 8x11 in. pan, (9x13 works too) and evenly pile ham and cheese all over.  Top with the other half of the rolls.

Prepare sauce by heating in a small pan, the butter, sugar, Worchestershire, mustard, onion or garlic powder, and salt.  Whisk just until it's all smooth and melted.

Evenly drizzle the butter glaze all over the sandwich. Use a knife to spread evenly, if need be.  Sprinkle generously with poppy seeds.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and remove foil and bake 5 minutes longer.  I like the cheese to be gooey and the tops slightly toasted.  Pull each little slider apart to serve.

Serve warm and enjoy with fresh veggies and chips!

I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas, as we did!!!

More pictures to come...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Old Fashioned Martha Washington Candies

Merry Christmas!!!  

I've been a busy bee around here, as I'm sure all of you are, and I've been up to my knees in dipping chocolate!  I don't have much time, so let me get straight to the delicious point....

My new favorite Christmas candies are Martha Washingtons!!!  Oh my.  I discovered them from 
Pinterest, and this is a Gooseberry Patch recipe.  These coconut-pecan bonbons are truly a coconut lover's dream!! They're easy to mix up, I used my stand mixer, and they make a huge batch of about 8 dozen.  I've made 2 batches, so I've rolled almost 17 dozen bonbons!  They have to be remarkably good for that to happen, ha!

These chocolate covered bonbons have a creamy coconut center made of coconut, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, and of course, butter!

I made several to take to our children's Preschool teachers and the Christmas program reception.  None were left!  Today I made a second batch to take back home for Christmas, and I can't wait to share them with our family.  I used toasted pecan on some for garnish and sprinkles on others for some festive colors that will draw the kiddos.

I can't wait to start this fun week of Christmas, and I think these Martha Washingtons will make it even sweeter!

Old Fashioned Martha Washington Candy
Deep South Dish

1 (14 oz.) sweetened flaked coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 heaping cups of powdered sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 c. Pecans, chopped and *toasted
1 brick of dipping chocolate bark, (you may need a little more), white chocolate bark is good too

I used my stand mixer here because it is a very thick mixture.

Combine everything but chocolate in a bowl and mix until it's combined.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or several hours.  

Spoon out and roll into balls about the size of a large marble and place on aluminum foil or wax paper lined sheet pans.  Place back into fridge while you melt the chocolate.  Working in batches so they stay cold, dip the balls into the chocolate, place back on sheet pan and sprinkle with toppings, if desired.  I used two long toothpicks to dip with.  Lift up and let excess chocolate drain and quickly sprinkle topping before the chocolate bark hardens.  Refrigerate if making them days ahead.
Makes about 7-8 dozen.

* Toasting pecans makes them even tastier!  It's easy to do: spread out pecan halves onto a sheet pan and bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes or until fragrant and a shade darker.  Let cool and chop pecans.